A Wisconsin man arrested in connection with the disappearance of a 14-year-old Saginaw girl has returned to Michigan and gone before a judge.
The teen was reported missing on April 14 and found in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin with 43-year-old James Werner.
Investigators report a turning point in the case came when someone claiming to be the teen contacted a national crisis texting hotline out of North Carolina and said she was with a man she met online.
A woman from the crisis hotline called Fort Atkinson Central Dispatch. She told dispatch the girl said she had met a guy on a role play website, said Lt. Chad Lang, with Fort Atkinson police.
The advocate did some digging and found a missing 14-year-old girl from Saginaw. Fort Atkinson police called the Saginaw Police Department who confirmed the girl was still missing. TV5 is not naming the teen due to the nature of the alleged crimes.
Fort Atkinson police then printed off a photo of the girl and circulated it to hotels in the city to see if anyone recognized her.
The police department was then contacted by the FBI out of Madison, Wisconsin. They told police the FBI office in Detroit had been tracking the 14-year-old girl on an app called Kik.
The FBI said the girl was using Kik under another name and had reached out to a few of her friends.
The FBI was able to track down a street address and Fort Atkinson police found the girl with Werner on April 21. She was found safe with no injuries, police said.
Lang said when officers asked Werner if the girl was with him, he said yes and cooperated with investigators.
Police escorted the girl out of Werner's apartment to a local hospital where a sexual assault kit was initiated.
Her parents were contacted by the Saginaw police and picked her up on April 22.
Officials said their investigation so far reveals Werner picked the teen up from Saginaw on April 15 and drove back to Wisconsin. She claims she was kept in his apartment and wasn’t allowed out until police found her on April 21.
The teen also claims she had been “touched” by Werner during that time, according to police.
Fort Atkinson police charged him with interaction with a child in custody, child enticement, sexual assault of a child and false imprisonment.
FBI Agent Steve Flattery told TV5 that Werner was extradited back to Michigan on May 24 and appeared before a federal court judge in Bay City on federal charges.
Werner didn't say anything during the proceeding, according to Flattery, so a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf.
A detention ruling in federal court on May 30 ruled Werner is not going anywhere.
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